Top Ten Digital Marketing Trends For 2011

If you are in the marketing profession, I think you’ll agree that our profession is experiencing some major disruption.

Top Ten Digital Marketing Trends for 2011 - HorizonWatching The traditional marketing theory and methods I learned at Kellogg Graduate School of Management back in the mid-90’s are still very valid.  Half the battle is still doing the all important work of market segmentation, targeting, and positioning. I still refer to my 7th edition of Phil Kotler’s textbook Marketing Management from time to time (although that book is now in it’s 12th edition!)

However, back in 1995, we had no clue just how much the Internet would impact marketing over the next 15 years.  And the impact has been very significant. The Internet has turned into a game changer for marketing. 

Leading edge marketing professionals understand that they need to learn how to leverage all the new digital marketing capabilities.  It is a great opportunity to build brand value, increase revenues, and cut down on marketing expenses.

So with that in mind, lets take a look at the top trends in online / digital marketing for 2011. 

  1. Marketing Budgets Will Continue to Shift Towards Online.  Customers and prospects are increasingly going online early in the buying cycle to gather information, form relationships, and make decisions about how they will buy.  As a result, marketing leaders must move marketing mix budgets to mirror where the customers and prospects are – online.  Online channels can reach a very targeted audience, are lower cost, and are becoming more measurable.  As a result we should expect the continued decline in the use of traditional media.  This cannibalization of traditional media will bring about new marketing channels, professions, and processes as well as a decline in overall advertising budgets.  Traditional agencies and publishers must transform their businesses to include digital marketing capabilities.
  2. Social Media Marketing Is Maturing.  Those in the marketing profession can sense that we are in the middle of an important transition to the use of social media for marketing purposes.  While the past few years many marketers have been experimenting with social media tactics, in 2011, leading marketing teams will be executing social tactics that are fully integrated into the overall marketing strategy. An overall social media marketing process will emerge that has firms following a never ending cycle of 1)Research, 2) Plan, 3)  Engage and 4) Measure.  Simultaneously, a new set of marketing capabilities are emerging, including Social Listening Research, Influencer Marketing, Community Marketing, and Social Gaming.  These new capabilities will require new marketing marketing professional Career Paths and Education tailored to the new social media marketing realities. 
  3. Mobile Marketing Set To Take Off.  In conjunction with the Social Media Marketing trend described above, the interest in mobile marketing has exploded, driven by the tremendous success of and media buzz around Apple’s iPhone, Google’s introduction of Android, and Apple’s introduction of the iPad.  As smartphone adoption grows, mobile marketing will expand beyond mobile messaging, and make mobile email, mobile websites and mobile applications viable channels in which to conduct marketing.  The combination of new devices, faster networks and new location-aware technology, will fuel this steady march toward greater significance.  Some key mobile marketing trends to watch in 2011 include Location Based Services, Mobile Apps, Mobile Gaming, Event-Based Mobile Marketing, and Augmented Reality.
  4. Personalized Marketing Customizes Messages To Individual.  Expect more personalization capability to be embedded in websites in 2011.  Regular visitors to a web site will see a page based on all the information collected from previous visits.  Marketers will present personalized sites to these customers by organizing information and prioritizing it based on the individual's liking.  Products and services offered on those pages will be pre-configured. “Anonymous” visitors to websites will get customized messages based on referring URL, search terms, geo-location and other insights.  Personalized marketing will be extended beyond the website to other digital channels, including social media marketing, mobile marketing, and email marketing.
  5. Social Video As A Marketing Tool Gains Momentum.  Video is an incredible way to connect with people online.  Until the Internet, the only way to get your video message to a mass audience was to pay for a TV commercial.  Today, social media sites and video go hand in hand. Distributing video via your social networks is a powerful way to imprint your images into the memory of your customers and prospects.  Video strengthens the relationships you have with existing customers and it helps prospects get to know you better.  So in 2011, there will be a focus among digital marketing professionals to understand how to make the best use of Video Marketing within Social Media Marketing Strategies and Programs.
  6. Search Engine Optimization Gets More Complex.  Customers naturally use search engines as their primary vehicle to find information on products and services.  But its not a one search engine game anymore as Google’s been joined by Bing in the US market and there are important local players like China’s Baidu and Russia’s Yandex.  On top of that, social sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are increasingly becoming an important source for searching.  Add to that search engine innovation, mobile search, and geo-location search and the job of the marketing professional to ensure their brand is on the first page of search results gets so much more complex.
  7. Marketing Analytics Helps Make Sense Of All The Noise.  The explosion of social conversations across the many online channels is providing marketers with a never ending stream of incoming data.  The challenge for marketing professionals is to turn all that data into insights and then develop strategies/actions based on those insights.  Marketing analytics applications can help, but they need to get better at integrating data from all sources (web, search, video, mobile, and social conversations).  Analytic applications will also need to get smarter and more predictive about customer buying preferences based on all that data.   In 2011, I expect to see a focus on the development of advanced analytic capabilities that can identify, analyze and describe patterns within all the information “noise”, giving marketing professionals important predictive insights they can use for making better decisions.
  8. Real Time Web Assistance Connects Buyer With Experts.  Online customers and consumers are some of the most impatient and demanding around.  They expect answers from your online support group right away.  Live chat services allow operators to interact with online customers and respond to their questions quickly, helping you convert web queries into customers and site traffic into transactions.  In 2011 watch for leading edge companies to combine the use of Twitter customer service accounts and the real-time chat services to provide ways of connecting product / service experts with customers in real-time in order to solve customer business issues.
  9. Online Privacy Concerns Continue.  Privacy issues continue to be an important trend for marketing professionals to be out in front of as government regulators have threatened to legislate solutions if the industry does not take action by itself.  Creating a secure online transactional environment is absolutely critical to a maintaining trust in customer relationships.  All it takes is one significant privacy issue to negatively impact a brand.  Privacy concerns from customers have forced brands like Facebook and Google to continually adjust their business models.  As enterprise marketing gets more social and mobile, privacy issues must be dealt with very carefully. 
  10. Digital Marketing Optimization Emerges As A Priority.  The past few years we have seen new ‘islands’ of marketing capabilities emerge within the marketing profession.  We are moving beyond Web 2.0 with all sorts of new channels and capabilities including mobile (messaging, websites, apps), rich media (video, podcasting, gaming), social media (blogs, microblogging, social networks, user generated content), and more.  The state of digital marketing is such that these ‘islands’ are not well integrated into an overall cohesive strategy.  In 2011 expect to see a focus from marketing leaders to focus on optimizing and integrating these separate initiatives into an overall umbrella digital marketing strategy.

So these are the online and digital marketing trends I’ll be watching closely in 2011.  A look through the above list tells you that there is so happening in online marketing.  As it is in almost every industry, Internet technology is totally changing the rules.   

Gartner’s 2011 Top Ten Strategic Technologies

Gartner Ten Strategic 2011 Gartner recently held their Symposium/ITxpo, October 17-21, in Orlando.  At that conference, Gartner released their annual list of top 10 Strategic Technologies and trends for 2011 in a presentation delivered by Gartner VPs David Cearley and Carl Claunch

Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years.  Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.  

The summary below provides the list of the ten technologies along with my summary observations about Gartner’s take on technology trend.  The first five on the 2011 list is familiar from last year's list. 

  • Cloud Computing. This trend continues to mature along both private and public delivery models.  In 2011 expect more vendors to focus on providing private services or technologies to create private implementations to address concerns with security and control.
  • Next-Generation Analytics.  Gartner says the next focus for analytics is to combine real-time predictive functionality with collaborative applications.   Future analytics capabilities will bring business intelligence to a much broader set of users and therefore impact a broader set of business processes.
  • Social Communications and Collaboration.  An outgrowth of the ‘Web 2.0’ trend, this technology area includes the use of social software for internal communication and collaboration, customer-facing websites, and public social networking.
  • Mobile Applications and Media Tablets.  This emerging technology will significantly impact both consumer and enterprise computing.  Gartner points out that the launch of the Apple iPad will drive IT departments to evaluate when, where and how tablets should be used in a business context.
  • Storage class memory.   Gartner says that flash memory, becoming popular in consumer devices, will make its way into the enterprise storage hierarchy in servers and client computers.  There are key advantages for IT (space, heat, performance and ruggedness).  Expect this technology to have a significant impact on many analytical and transactional applications.

New to the Gartner list for 2011 are the following 5 technologies.

  • Social Analysis:   Gartner says that social analytics, an intersection of “Next Generation Analytics” and “Social Communications and Collaboration”, is an important emerging trend.   A key development to watch out for will be the ability to harvest intelligence from mobile applications and context aware computing. 
  • Context-Aware Computing:  Systems will increasingly anticipate the user's needs (based on their things like environment and historical behavior patterns), then proactively provide the most appropriate and customized content, product or service.
  • Video:  Gartner says it is time for businesses to develop strategies and goals for using video technologies within business processes.  Video can add new capabilities to business processes and workflow.
  • Fabric-Based Infrastructure and Computing:   Gartner says systems will become more flexible and modular as they evolve to support the dynamic needs of public and private cloud computing.
  • Ubiquitous Computing:   The explosion of sensors, chips, and other low cost computing devices is resulting in smarter objects.   Businesses and IT leaders will need to learn how to incorporate these ever increasing large number of computing devices and their data they provide into business processes and decision making systems.

For more on Gartner's list of 10 strategic technologies

Gartner: Top Technology Trends You Can’t Afford To Ignore

Successful business leaders do a good job of understanding and preparing for the potential futures.  They take time to figure out what the potential disruptive trends are today…and what trends will cause disruption in the future.   They understand not only those disruptive trends that will impact their business, but those that will disrupt their customers businesses as well.

Gartner - Tech Trends You Cant Ignore Gartner regularly holds a webinar about every 2-3 months entitled “Top Technology Trends You Can’t Afford To Ignore”.     During these hour long webinars, Gartner presents it’s most current list of the top ten technologies.   The list changes from year to year ever so slightly, so when Gartner held one of these webinars last month, I attended.

To make this top ten technology trend list, Gartner says the technology has to be disruptive in nature.  Gartner defines a disruptive technology as one which drives major change in business processes or revenue streams, consumer behavior or spending, or IT industry dynamics.  These trends have the potential to significantly alter the competitive environment in an industry.

During the webinar I attended,  Raymond Paquet, Managing Vice President at Gartner,  1) defined the trend, 2) described the impact the technology has on business and IT, and 2) provided recommendations on how leaders should begin using the technology.

Here’s the list of Top Technology Trends You Can’t Ignore from the recent Gartner webinar of the same name.

  1. Virtualization – This trend, which used to be focused just on servers, is maturing across all elements of an information technology infrastructure.
  2. Data Deluge – The explosion of unstructured data is causing the emergence of a whole set of new emerging technologies designed to manage all data inputs and make sense out of the chaos.
  3. Energy and Green IT – There’s an increasing awareness on energy efficiency measurements.
  4. Complex Resource Tracking – Monitoring energy consumption so that you can dynamically move workloads to save energy.
  5. Consumerization and Social Software – Gartner says this trend is impacting business in a great way and business leaders need to incorporate social computing across their business.
  6. Unified Communications – Tightly integrating all forms of communications into all business applications and organizational processes.
  7. Mobile and Wireless – The explosion of mobile smart devices is leading to an explosion of mobile applications, causing a whole new set of requirements on the infrastructure. 
  8. System Density – Blades are evolving into componentized, data-center-in-a-chassis solutions and therefore the trend is towards high density application of blades resulting in maximum use of floor space.
  9. Mashups and Portals – Lots of creativity going on here with focus being placed on both visualization integration and content integration into a personalized, customized portal.
  10. Cloud Computing – Gartner says cloud technology is an important one for businesses to implement.  Private clouds will dominate and will allow businesses to improve agility.  Leaders should ignore the hype and focus on results.

For more information, you can access the replay of the webinar I attended:   Technology Trends You Can't Afford to Ignore (website registration may be required).  You can also access the full library of Gartner webinars (upcoming and replay archives) at the following URL  http://my.gartner.com/portal/server.pt?objID=202&open=512&mode=2&PageID=3428358  (website registration may be required). 

CIOs: Social Computing Is The Most Risky Emerging Technology

IBM recently published it’s 2010 Global Risk Study and the findings confirm that IT leaders today are very concerned about IT security and business resiliency.  The report found that 88% of those surveyed say that their company’s approach to risk is less than expert.  This comes at a time when there are increasing demands on IT leaders to accelerate their implementation of emerging technologies like cloud computing and social computing.

IBM surveyed 560 IT managers and CIOs from all types of companies located all over the world to talk in order to understand issues surrounding IT risks from the perspective of IT leaders.  IBM wanted to understand what their biggest obstacles are, where their biggest challenges lie, where they see the greatest potential for adding business value.

What caught my eye was a couple of questions in the survey that dealt with the risk involved with implementing emerging technologies.  Respondents to the survey were asked how their organization is positioned to acquire and deploy five emerging technologies

  1. Social computing/networking tools
  2. Mobile platforms
  3. Cloud computing
  4. Virtualization
  5. Service-oriented architecture (SOA)

Of these five technologies, social networking, mobile platforms and cloud computing were rated the most risky emerging technologies.    Social networking tools (64% respondents) came out on top as the technology that posed the greatest risk.  Second was mobile platforms (54%) followed by cloud computing (43%).  See the graph of the survey results below.

IBM Risk Study 2010  

According to the survey report, IT leaders say that the risks of these emerging technologies include issues related to accessibility, use and control of data (especially regarding social computing/networking), and the danger of having unauthorized access to confidential, proprietary information.

It’s not surprising that social networking/computing technologies is perceived as a risky emerging technology.   Most enterprises are still trying to figure out how to leverage social computing and extract business value.  There needs to be a greater focus by IT and Business leaders on establishing social computing processes, methods, and professional roles.   Once this is done, the risks can be minimized and social networking tools can be fully integrated into the IT infrastructure and business process workflow.

For More Information

Get the report  The evolving role of IT managers and CIOs Findings from the 2010 IBM Global IT Risk Study

Browse for more related information at the IBM Smarter Security & Resilience website.

Successful Social Media Marketing Requires A Dedicated Community Leader

The social media marketing trend is an important trend for businesses of all sizes.  Business leaders and marketing managers are realizing it can be used to help strengthen relationships and perceptions people have with a company, a brand, a product.

Most social media marketing efforts today need to apply the basics of community marketing and management.  Because at the heart of it, social media marketing efforts should be launched to strengthen relationships the target audience has with the topics and people that are important to your company’s success.  A successful community can accomplish that and more.

91955 I see many social media and community marketing efforts fail because of lack of funding for community management resources.  Many of these social sites and community efforts are developed to support a product launch and then a few months down the road the blog posts dwindle to a few posts a month, the tweets slow down, and the conversation stops.

To be highly successful, communities need to be funded for and supported by dedicated professionals fulfilling certain functions. There are four key functions that can help result in a successful community.

  • Exec Sponsor(s): Serves as the group’s champion, internally and externally. Is able to envision the value of the community over time to both the members as well as the organization.
  • Community Leader(s): Plays the most critical role in the community's success by energizing the sharing process and providing continuous nourishment for the community. Communicates a sense of passion and guides the community towards its goals through consulting, connecting, facilitating, helping, guiding
  • Community Council Members: Advises community leader in launching and sustaining the community. Frequently takes on additional roles as listed below.
  • Community Members: Without these there is no community; the essence of a community is its members. Contributes and extracts value via content, programs, and social/professional network

The community leadership is the most important function. My experience tells me that many in management think that communities 'can run themselves' without dedicated community leadership. Without dedicated community leadership, communities are subject to the momentary whims of the members, relying on the members’ discretionary willingness to perform such functions. In most cases, leaving the community to the membership results in a decline in activity. It is a rare community that can continue to survive without dedicated support.

Forrester says that there are four key tenets of a community leader: 

  • Community Advocate:  The community manager’s primary role is to represent the members of the community. They must listen, monitor, and respond to requests and conversations, both within the community platform and in email.
  • Brand Evangelist:  Community manager promotes events, products, and upgrades using traditional marketing tactics as well as being part of conversations within the community. The community manager must first earn and maintain trust.
  • Facilitator:  Defines, plans, and executes content strategy. Uses forums, blogs, podcasts, and other tools to create content. Mediates disputes: Encourages advocates and deals with — or when necessary removes — detractors. Works with corporate stakeholders to identify content, plan updates, publish, and follow-up.
  • Research and Development Contributor:  Gathers the requirements of the community and presents to product teams. Plans and analyzes results of surveys or focus groups. Facilitates relationships between product teams and customers.

To Forrester's list I'd add the following tasks that many community leaders end up performing themselves:

  • Social Media Manager:  Manages the communities presence in the social media and collaboration sites
  • Meeting Facilitation:  Schedules and facilitates meetings. Ensures meetings stay focused on goals of the community.
  • Subject Matter Expertise:  Shares knowledge and experience.  Ensures the community continues to seek out new and innovative solutions and methods.
  • Relationship Management:  Builds relationships between the members to strengthen the overall community.
  • Knowledge Management:  Gathers, posts and organizes the community knowledge.  Ensures all members have access to content created or referenced by the community.
  • Analyst:  Analyzes the community content and membership network to identify and extract value.
  • Technology Management:  Ensures that the community platform and tools supports the goals and objectives of the community.

These responsibilities do not have to be managed by a single individual. Many times there is more than one community leader.  Also, a good community leader has a good group of council members and one or more of the council members may be accountable for multiple responsibilities, which is likely in the early stages of community development.

So what type of skills are needed by the Community Leader? 

  • Strong online communication skills
  • Approachable and conversational
  • Has the ability to relate to members online and offline
  • Comfortable with Web 2.0, social media, and collaboration tools

Two other important requirements.    The community leader must 

  1. Have a passion for the community domain (topic area)
  2. Have a passion for helping others learn and collaborate. They must experience job satisfaction from helping others.

CIOs: Are YOU Participating In The Social Media?

door

(Note:  I originally posted this as Opening The Social Computing Door at InfoBoom, but thought readers here on HorizonWatching would enjoy the post as well)

At the heart of it, social computing really is all about enabling conversations between two or more people in an open environment. By making conversations more public, we can all learn from each other.  The benefits are very similar to the trend of open source development.  Social computing promotes open conversations instead of ‘behind closed doors’.  In doing so, we encourage learning and collaboration.  And that leads to better decision making.

So how should CIO’s be leveraging social media in their careers and for the enterprises they serve?

Participating in Conversations
First, future IT leaders can begin adding their voice to public conversations happening about subjects important to the IT industry.  If you aren’t participating in the public conversation, you can’t influence it.  My research, 2009 CIO Award Winners Are Not Embracing Social Media, found that 35 industry award-winning CIOs and IT leaders are not active in the social media.   These and future award winning IT leaders should be sharing their thoughts in a public space, not only behind the closed doors.  

For one perspective on this topic, John Suffolk, CIO of the UK Government discusses his views on blogging in Should CIOs blog publicly? and his views on the evolving role of the CIO as a Chief Collaboration Officer.

Gaining Business Leverage
Secondly, CIOs can help the business leadership team in achieving goals for the enterprise by providing leadership and guidance on how to leverage social computing and collaboration platforms, both internally and externally:

  • Learn how transformational social media can be to helping increase growth and/or drive productivity to improve the bottom line. 
  • Work with business leaders to find ways to embed social computing into the framework of every enterprise business process, including product development, marketing, sales, and customer support.  

I’ve compiled links to resources, blog posts, and articles that can help you understand just how transformational social media can be. Check them out at:  Social Media Case Studies and Lessons Learned.

Getting Smarter
To work smarter, we’ll need smarter organizations — enhancing and benefiting from their people’s expertise, enterprise and creativity, rather than inhibiting them.  CIOs can lead in transforming the collaborative infrastructure and processes of our places of work by enabling social conversations that will allow employees, partners, and customers to take advantage of the full scope of an instrumented, interconnected and intelligent planet.

Jumping In
Interested in following some CIOs that are active in the social media?  My research Top 50 CIO and IT Leaders in the Social Media, provides you with a list of CIOs who are setting an example for others on how to leverage the social media.   Explore their blogs and tweets, learn from them, and perhaps you can start adding your thoughts to the conversations as well. 

Want to be more active in the social media, but not sure how you should get started?  Check out my post Leveraging Social Media: 12 Steps To Develop Your Personal Online Brand.

InfoBoom: How Can CIOs Leverage Social Computing?

InfoBoom Mar16 This week I have authored the featured article on The InfoBOOM! community site (www.theinfoboom.com).  The article is written for CIOs, CTOs, and IT Leaders who have yet to get involved in the social media or who are wondering how to implement social computing solutions. 

If you know of any IT leaders, you may want to point them to the article.  It will be interesting to hear from CIOs what their challenges are with this disruptive trend.

About The Article

The article, Opening the Social Computing Door, provides some guidance for CIOs and IT leaders on how they can start leveraging social computing in their careers and for the enterprises they serve.  There is much work to do.  My research has shown that there are a relatively few number of CIOs that are truly demonstrating leadership in the social media today.

I break the article up into four sections

  1. Participating in Conversations
  2. Gaining Business Leverage
  3. Getting Smarter
  4. Jumping In

I provide links to research I’ve done that shed some like on what leading CIOs are doing in the social media and how it can be leveraged in the enterprise environment.   It’s my hope the article helps CIOs and IT leaders get started.  I’d be interested in any feedback you may have. 

About InfoBOOM!

The InfoBOOM! community has been developed via a partnership between CIO.com and IBM.  The site is about a year old and is an online community environment that fosters the free exchange of ideas among experts, midmarket CIOs and technology leaders.   The focus is on giving IT leaders at small and mid-sized firms the insights and perspectives they need on vital issues.  Each week, a new expert is featured and an article is written by that expert that provides a point of view on an important topic.  Then, Jim Malone, Senior Editorial Director a CIO.com authors a complementary or contrarian view.   As a result of the two articles, important discussion and collaboration happens each week on the selected topic.   Thus each week InfoBOOM! fosters open dialogue and contrary points of view between the editor, experts and members.  I encourage you to check out the site at http://www.theinfoboom.com

IDC Insights: Manufacturing Product Life Cycle Management 2010 Predictions

IDC PLM 2010 Predictions About a week or so ago I attended the IDC Manufacturing Insights conference call where IDC outlined its 2010 Predictions for Product Life Cycle Management.  On the call Joe Barkai, IDC PLM Practice Director and  Benjamin Friedman, IDC PLM Research Manager took the conference call attendees through IDC’s predictions and trends for the Manufacturing PLM market.

Here’s my summary of IDCs top trends in PLM

  1. Innovation and Business Alignment.  In 2010, IDC says there will be an increased focus on aligning PLM innovation with business strategy, making sure innovation is ‘productive’ and is helping the company achieve growth.
  2. Enterprise PLM is Maturing.  IDC is saying that PLM is becoming an important factor in the entire enterprise decision-making discipline, but more progress is needed to integrate all manufacturing systems across the organization.
  3. Socializing” Product Development:   Social computing has had an impact in marketing and support.  In 2010, we should all expect the social computing trend to have an impact on product development. Innovative firms will figure this out in 2010.
  4. Rising Demand for PLM Value:  IDC says that in 2010, PLM vendors need to demonstrate value and relevance.  IDC is encouraging vendors to emphasize integration, interoperability and open source.
  5. Visualization for Better Decision-Making:  Decision makers need to see the information in new and different ways in order to help them make better decisions.  Expect an increasing emphasis on the importance of making sense of all the data collected and stored via advanced analytics and visualization tools. 
  6. Technical Content is Back.   IDC says there will be an effort by companies to introduce new technical related services and improve the quality of existing services as a way to differentiate their products.
  7. Factory of the Future.  Smarter and more intelligent manufacturing is a big trend.  IDC says to expect an increased interest by manufacturing companies in the area of intelligent factory networks that can “design anywhere, build anywhere, sell & service anywhere”. 
  8. Beyond Discrete Manufacturing.  IDC believes that PLM software can and will be implemented in some non-traditional areas, like process manufacturing, retail and consumer goods, and perhaps even financial services.  
  9. PLM in the Cloud.  IDC says adoption of enterprise cloud-based PLM solutions will slowly begin to take off.  All the right drivers are in place and many of the concerns are being resolved.
  10. M&As to Close Gaps.   IDC says that given the economic climate, some firms will take the opportunity to merge and / or acquire other firms in order to build scale and/or access new markets.

Personally, I’d like to see a lot of focus on prediction number 3.  I don’t see many firms leveraging social computing yet as a way to innovate the product development process.

The webinar was recorded and you can check it out by going to IDC Insights Predictions 2010: Manufacturing Product Lifecycle Management (registration required).

For more information,

Gartner: Five Social Collaboration Software Predictions

Gartner - Social Software 2010 Earlier this week, Gartner released a report “Predicts 2010: Social Software Is an Enterprise Reality” in which the analyst firm provides some predictions on what is in store for social collaboration software in 2010 and the years ahead.   Increasingly, businesses are finding that applications like Twitter and Facebook can provide value.  That is translating into increased adoption of social collaboration platforms by enterprises of all sizes.

Here’s my summary of 5 predictions Gartner offers in the report:

  1. Bye Bye Email?:   Gartner says social networking will prove to be a more productive tool for many types of communications.  Gartner’s prediction:  By 2014, social networking services will replace e-mail as the primary vehicle for interpersonal communications for 20 percent of business users. 
  2. Internal Microblogging Efforts Fail:   The scale of Twitter is so large, enterprise users will find it more valuable than internal microblogging platforms.  Gartner’s prediction: By 2012, over 50 percent of enterprises will use activity streams that include microblogging, but stand-alone enterprise microblogging will have less than 5 percent penetration.
  3. IT-Led Social Media Projects Fail:   Gartner says that IT departments just don’t have the skill set to design and deliver an social media solution.  Gartner’s prediction:  Through 2012, over 70 percent of IT-dominated social media initiatives will fail, while only 50% of business-led initiatives will fail. 
  4. Mobile Apps To Influence Desktop Apps:  Gartner says that IT departments will learn new ways of developing apps for SmartPhones and be able to use that knowledge to design better apps for desktops.  Gartner’s prediction:  Within five years, 70 percent of collaboration and communications applications designed on PCs will be modeled after user experience lessons from smartphone collaboration applications.  
  5. Enterprises Slow To Adopt Social Network Analysis:  Gartner says SNA tools will remain an untapped source of insight in most organizations.  Gartner’s prediction:  Through 2015, only 25 percent of enterprises will routinely utilize social network analysis to improve performance and productivity.

Much more information can be found in the report “Predicts 2010: Social Software Is an Enterprise Reality” or, if you don’t have access, check out the summary in the press release, Gartner Reveals Five Social Software Predictions for 2010 and Beyond

VentureBeat: Venture Capital Trends For 2010

venturebeat_logo There was an article published at the end of December that I thought those in interested in the venture capital trends for 2010 might want to read.  The article appeared on the VentureBeat site and was written by two partners at Grotech Ventures.  It caught my eye as it discussed where money might be flowing in 2010.

A quick summary of the article:

  • Social Media.  The authors say that social media will be a hot sector.  While there are still many questions about how to monetize the conversational and real-time nature of social media, the authors expects social media to move towards profitability in 2010.
  • Cloud Computing.  The authors expect money to continue to flow to the cloud in 2010.  The financial value of cost savings, infrastructure savings and productivity enhancement will drive continued investment. 
  • Prosumer Technologies.  The authors say this space will fizzle in 2010 and we will see a re-separation of consumer and professional devices, having a trickle-down effect on the ecosystems of startup companies developing for the iPhone, Droid, and other platforms.   It’s interesting to read this view as Deloitte recently came out with their 2010 Technology Predictions (Deloitte: Seven Technology Predictions for 2010), and one of those predictions was that the Prosumer trend will continue to be hot and cause disruption for IT departments.
  • Freemium Model.   The authors say that start-ups should understand that the gap between free and paying customers is widening. As customer attention spans shorten, their brand loyalty diminishes as well.  Users tend to move move on to the next trendy, free offering.  This will put pressure on providers to innovate at an incredibly rapid pace in order to keep pace with market demand.  For more on the freemium business model, see Wikipedia’s article on Freemium.

Check out the full article at VentureBeat “Venture Capital 2010:  Hot (and cold) sectors to watch”.

AdAge: 5 Mobile Advertising Trends To Watch In 2010

ad age_logo Mobile is such a megatrend.  Mobile technologies, applications and services will be big a big story in 2010 and this shift in computing will impact our lives forever.  That is a fact we can not deny.   So I have my radar tuned to any content that helps me understand the underlying drivers and trends.

AdAge recently had an article titled Five Mobile Trends for 2010 that caught my eye.  It provides us with a perspective of the mobile megatrend from those in the advertising industry.  The two authors Dan Neumann (Organic) and Allison Mooney (MobileBehavior) have been focusing on the mobility trend and the impact it will have on advertising.  The article provides their thoughts on the key trends.

Here’s my summary of the five trends they see…

  1. Local Advertising.  Mobile will completely revolutionize the way local advertisers can connect with potential customers.  Mobile search and location based services will allow small local retailers and service providers to reach consumers like they’ve never
  2. Shopping Applications.  The growth in adoption of mobile shopping applications (apps such as price comparison, user product reviews, coupons) will continue to alter in-store consumer behavior. 
  3. Branded Apps and Display Media.   The authors expect that brands and agencies will continue to build their own branded apps.  However thanks to Google, they will also have more attractive display media options.  The authors say to watch out for Google as it attempts to one-up the iPhone app experience.
  4. Outdoor Advertising.   The authors give a few examples of where mobile users can now interact with outdoor ads and signage, opening up a whole new set of opportunities for advertisers.
  5. Social Provides Instant Feedback.  Social technologies give users the ability to express their opinions anywhere, anytime.   Companies need to figure out how to embrace this as part of their marketing process, encouraging and acting on the real-time feedback.

Some interesting trends along with a unique perspective from the advertising industry.  I think it is safe to say that Google has an iron-clad plan to grab their share of the mobile advertising market. 

Business.com: 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study

BusinessCOM SM Report Business.com recently released their 2009 Business Social Media Benchmarking Study.   The objective of the study was to assess current trends in the use of social media in North American businesses.  

The results of the study were based on the 2,948 valid responses to Business.com’s survey during August and early September, 2009 and the report provides an interesting view into where businesses are finding value in social media across different activities and sites. 

The report is organized into two sections. The first section discusses how business people utilize social media today to find business-relevant information.  The second section covers corporate social media initiatives, benchmarking experience with social media for business (both respondent and company), top social media activities and how companies judge social media success today.

Highlights

Nearly 65% of respondents reported using social media as part of their normal work routine, including reading blogs, visiting business profiles on sites like Facebook or LinkedIn or using Twitter to find information and/or communicate about business-related matters

Among those using any form of social media to find business-relevant information, the most popular activity is attending webinars or listening to podcasts (69%) followed by reading  ratings/reviews for business products or services (62%). The least popular activities are saving business-related links on social bookmarking sites (28%) and participating in discussions on 3rd party web sites (29%).

Major Findings

  • Over 1900 participants in the study indicated that they work for a company involved in social media initiatives. 92% are directly involved in planning or managing these initiatives.
  • On average, these individuals spend 18% of their time in any given week working on these initiatives.
  • 71% of the companies surveyed have less than two years of experience with social media.
  • The average company in the study is currently involved in 7 different social media efforts.
  • Top activities include – maintaining company related accounts and profiles on social media sites (70%), followed by monitoring company-related mentions on social media sites (60%) and maintaining one or more company blogs (60%).
  • 66% of social media initiatives are driven by marketing, followed by 23% by customer support and 8% by product development departments.
  • On average, companies use four different metrics to measure their social media initiatives – web site traffic, engagement with prospects and customers, brand impact – basically awareness and reputation, quantity and quality of leads
  • 80% maintain a presence on Facebook.
  • 56% have a company account on Twitter.
  • A typical company in the study, maintains a presence on three different social media sites. 
  • 47% of companies in the study upload content to one or more content sharing sites. So, although they may have a profile on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or YouTube, some companies may not be regularly sharing content. Over commitment to many social media initiatives at any one time has been sited by numerous case studies as a driving factor behind poor social media performance.  
  • YouTube is the leading business content sharing site; used by 65% of those in the study that share content online.

Report’s Table of Contents

The report table of contents below can give you a feel for the type of information in the report:

  • Beyond Chatting with Friends: Social Media as a Business Resource
    • Who Uses Social Media as a Resource for Business Information?
    • Most Popular Social Media Resources for Business
  • Most Useful Social Media Resources for Business
  • Current State of Corporate Social Media Initiatives
    • Respondent and Company Experience with Business Social Media
    • Top Corporate Social Media Activitie
    • How Companies Judge Social Media Succes
    • Initiative Detail: Managing Business Profiles on Social Media Site
    • Initiative Detail: Participating in Q&A Site
    • Initiative Detail: Using Social Media Monitoring Tool
    • Initiative Detail: Sharing Business Content on Social Media Sites
    • Initiative Detail: Business Content Bookmarking on Social Media Sites

The full report can be downloaded via the following link:  http://www.business.com/info/business-social-media-benchmark-study